From fine art to tattoos: Island artist’s unique story

Local fine art gallery and tattoo parlor celebrates its 10th anniversary

A little later in life than expected, Bainbridge Island artist Tracy Lang found herself pursuing a new medium, and a totally new career. At 40 years old, she shifted her focus from fine art to body art — and never looked back.

“Fine art is what got me to where I am today, but body art is where I found an entirely new level of fulfillment in my work,” Lang says. “Helping people express their life stories through tattooing has been a great honor and a joy since opening Ryderville Ink ten years ago.”

While the path from renowned modern artist to tattoo artist was a journey filled with many ups and downs, Lang, who is currently celebrating Ryderville’s ten year anniversary, feels her path was always meant to lead to body art.

“While making the change, I felt encouraged by all avenues of my life. Even the books I stumbled upon would wind up being inspiration and confirmation that body art was the logical next step in my career.”

Lang cites one book in particular, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, that really spoke to her during her early days as an emerging tattoo artist.

“It’s a fantastic book and I won’t spoil it for those who enjoy powerful historical fiction. But at one point a character in the novel receives a ‘horimono,’ a traditional tattoo in Japanese culture. The artist who completes the ‘horimono’ was also a woodcut print artist, which happens to be one of the art forms I was also known for prior to becoming a tattoo artist,” Lang says. “The book led me to learn more about the history of tattoos, and that history continues to inspire my work today.”

Lang is known for her historical and nature-inspired tattoo work, pulling from the rich history of Bainbridge Island, the natural world and the influential artists she grew up admiring.

“Jacob Lawrence taught my mentors and continues to influence my work today. His work tells a story, and that’s always been the goal with my own artwork,” says Lang. “The majority of tattoos that we do at Ryderville Ink tell the stories of our clients lives, their experiences, what shaped them into the people they are today. It’s that side of the work that inspired me to bring fine art into the tattoo world.”

Lang has recently welcomed a new artist to Ryderville Ink, Megan Carney. Lang had the honor of training Carney in the art and is excited to have her working alongside her at Ryderville.

Those interested in booking a session at Ryderville Ink can do so by calling 206-855-9458. You can also find more of Ryderville Ink’s work on Instagram.

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